Prophethood (Ahmadiyya)

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The view on the Prophets of God (Arabic: نبي) in Ahmadiyya Islam differs with that of Christianity, Orthodox Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and the Baha'i Faith. Unlike Orthodox Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community considers the term Messenger (rasul) and Prophet (nabi) as being different aspects of the same office of a Khalifatullah (Representative of God on Earth). According to Ahmadiyya belief, the terms encountered in the Qur'an to signify divinely appointed individuals, namely, Warner (Nazir), Prophet (Nabi), Messenger (Rasul), are generally synonymous. Ahmadis however categorise prophets as law-bearing ones and non-lawbearing ones.

Definition[edit]

Ahmadis believe that when the world is filled with unrighteousness and immorality, or rather, when a specific part of the world displays these attributes, or when the followers of a certain law (religion) become corrupt or incorporate innovative and corrupted teachings into the faith (Bid'ah), thus making the faith obsolete or in need of a Divine Sustainer, then a Prophet of God is sent to Earth by God to re-establish His Divine Will, that is, for humans to worship Him and to observe the rights of his creation.

Prophets, and the true followers of Prophets, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have always faced severe opposition and often persecution, especially so in the country/society in which they brought forth their Divine Message. This is in accordance with the history of the Prophets and also with the principle laid out in the Qur'an and parts of the Bible to this effect.

Prophets as Divine Magnetizers[edit]

The Prophets, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, inspire humans to such an extent that faith (eiman) translates into practical application of the faith (a'maal). The Prophets 'magnetize' and draw humans towards them and as a result of this, true faith – that is, eiman with a'maal (practical application) – is established amongst their followers. It is written, however, that the 'magnetism' which draws forth people that a Prophet displays is for a limited time because, within a somewhat long time period after they die, the magnetism that the Prophet brought becomes less and less until it is absolutely non-existent. Thus, either God immediately appoints a Successor to the Prophet (who may be a Prophet himself) that has died or, after hundreds of years, when the magnetism is virtually non-existent, God sends forth another new Messenger to display that magnetism once more. It is for this reason that, according to Ahmadiyya belief, followers of all faiths are not drawn to the magnetism of their founding Prophets because that has become non-existent over time. This also applies, according to Ahmadiyya belief, to Orthodox Islam because it has been centuries since the founding Prophet Muhammad died and centuries still since Muhammad's original Caliphate ceased to exist.

Caliphate[edit]

According to Ahmadiyya belief, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was the Promised Messiah, sent by God as a Prophet to bring back that magnetism that draws forth humans. After he died in 1908, his first successor was elected and uptill today, this Ahmadiyya Caliphate has spanned over a century, seen 5 Caliphs and is continuing, in the manner of the first 4 Caliphs of the Pious Caliphate of Muhammad. However, the Ahmadiyya Caliphate is seen as a re-establishment and continuation of the first Islamic Caliphate of Muhammad and the Ahmadiyya Caliphs as Successors to the Promised Messiah as well as to Muhammad. The Rightly-Guided Caliphs of Islam (Pious Caliphs and Ahmadiyya Caliphs) are thought to be chosen by God through the agency of pious believers. The Rightly-Guided Caliphs are considered to be guided by God after their election to this office.

Thus, the present Ahmadiyya Khalifa, Mirza Masroor Ahmad and also all other Ahmadiyya Khulafa are seen as Successors of both the Promised Messiah and Muhammad, though human and in no way incarnations of God or any other status which would jeopardize the concept of the Unity of God (see: Non-Divinity of Prophets). Nor are Ahmadiyya Caliphs thought to be infallible, for Caliphs are lesser than Prophets, and Prophets may also make human errors in judgement.

Ahmadiyya belief dictates that Prophethood is Qudrat Al-Awwal or the First Manifestation of God's Omnipotence and Rightly-Guided Caliphate (usually taken to mean the Ahmadiyya Caliphate) is a form of Qudrat Ath-Thaani or the Second Manifestation of God's Omnipotence.

However, in no way does the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community deem the Ahmadiyya Caliphate to be better than the Pious Caliphate of Muhammad because it has spanned a longer time or seen more Caliphs.

Non-Divinity of Prophets[edit]

The Prophets of God are not seen as incarnations of God but are seen as mortal humans, as they have all died, according to Ahmadiyya belief (including Jesus,who, according to Ahmadiyya belief died and his body is not currently in Heaven right now as according to Orthodox Islamic and Christian belief). Each Messenger is seen to have been an ordinary human who displayed righteousness and honesty to a degree that was not found even remotely in his society of the time. Then, according to Ahmadiyya belief, God is thought to have selected this pious human and told him his divine station of Prophethood. God would then, invest the Holy Spirit (Arabic: rohil-Quddos) within the newly appointed Prophet and the Prophet would become a Man/Manifestation of God, though still a human being and not Divine in his own right. Prophets are not regarded as God, God's Sons, incarnations of God, or in any other way which would put the Unity of God, the concept of Islamic (tawhid) or the declaration of faith in jeopardy. The first part of the shahadah, the essential declaration of a Muslim, states: "There is no god but Allah" and another version of the same is "There is none worthy of worship except Allah". The word Allah, according to Ahmadiyya belief, is a personal name of God, is a proper noun and is not a combination or a derivative of any other Arabic words. The second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Movement made this abundantly clear in his ground-breaking commentary of the Qur'an. He writes: "In the Arabic language, the word Allah is never used for any other thing or being. No other language has a distinctive name for the Supreme Being. The names found in other languages are all attributive or descriptive and are often used in the plural, but the word 'Allah' is never used in the plural number. It is a simple substantive, not derived. It is never used as a qualifying word."[1]

Reflections of Divine Attributes[edit]

Although Prophets are regarded as human beings, they are seen as having attained the highest rank of spirituality among all humans. According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, only in spirituality (literally, "Nearness to God") does one deserve any honour and that also usually only by God Himself and thus racism, sexism, nationalism and other ideologies such as these are condemned by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Prophets are seen to have resisted and overcome Satan, which is either Satan taking a corporeal form and inviting them to evil or the metaphorical Satan which is the base desires of humans (i.e. wealth, fame, lust, greed etc.). The purpose of life, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and in principle with the Qur'an, is to worship God. This worship is in two parts:

1.) Direct Prayer with God to establish communion with Him, Zikr-Illahi (Remembrance of God) and other spiritual exercises.

2.) Service to humanity. As humans are the creatures of God, service to them means that you are in part worshipping God. This service may be on any scale, from being polite or holding the door for people, to being a doctor or establishing/donating to a large humanitarian relief organization. The only way to worship God completely is to mimic His Divine Attributes (though unlimited, 99 of which are told of in the Qur'an which is the literal Word of God, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) which are able to be mimicked (i.e. some attributes such as Al-Khaaliq (the Creator) cannot be mimicked by humans). Thus God sends prophets to ease this task for humans because Prophets are those, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, that have mimicked God's Attributes and are thus Manifestations of God, or Manifestations of God's Attributes. They are seen as representatives of God on Earth and are invested with His Holy Spirit. According to Ahmadiyya belief, out of all Prophets which are Manifestations of God, Muhammad reflected God's Attributes perfectly and was the Supreme Manifestation of His Attributes or the "Seal of the Prophets" as described in the Qur'an.

Manifestations of God[edit]

Prophets are viewed as 'representatives' of God. This is in accordance with the following Qur'anic verse: "Those who bear the Throne and those who are around it, proclaim the praise of their Lord and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe…" (40:8) The 'Throne' signified in this verse by the Arabic word 'Arsh' means the transcendent Attributes of God (Arabic: Sifāt Tashbīhiyyah)[2] and thus, the Prophets are the manifestations of the attributes of God, or the Manifestations of God.[3][4] This is also shown in that once, Ayesha, the wife of the Muhammad, was asked whether Muhammad or the Qur'an was better. She replied that Muhammad was the Qur'an personified (Qur'an in the flesh). In this way, the Biblical quotation referring to Jesus is shown to mean the same thing: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Thus, as "the Word of God becoming flesh" is applied for both Muhammad and Jesus, it signifies that they were metaphorical Manifestations of God, but not actually God or sons/incarnations of God in any way. (see: Non-Divinity of Prophets)[citation needed]

Ahmadiyya Writings[edit]

The Review of Religions, a magazine started by Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to promote inter-faith dialogue and guide seekers of the truth, which is the longest running Muslim English language magazine in the world, elaborates in the Prospectus of its first issue under its first volume (1902) and gives a short overview of the points above concerning Prophets being 'Manifestations of God' and 'Divine Magnetizers'. The Non-Divinity of Prophets, the Mirror Analogy, Sun and Lake Analogy and Prophets as the Reflection of Divine Attributes: "…how to be enfranchised from the bondage of sin, and how to get out of the impurities of life? There is only one answer to this all-important question. Such a regeneration can only be effected by the one who comes with a magnetism from heaven, who on account of the extreme purity of his soul and the surpassing cleanliness of his heart is metaphorically called a Manifestation of God."[5]

"He (the Prophet) removes the poisonous matters, gives the elixir vitae in their stead, burns the carnal passions and low motives of worldly life and ennobles the soul with the pure and exalted divine morals." [5]

"Look at the sun and the moon: each new day requires a new appearance of the glorious orb of light." [5]

"The holy one that rose in the days of Pilate among the Jews (Jesus) was, no doubt, a sun of righteousness, but only so long as his magnetism attracted the hearts and his light worked a heavenly transformation in the souls of his followers. He is now a sun but one that has passed below the horizon. The radiant light which shone from his face and the brilliant luster which he cast around him is shorn of its beams and grown quite obscure, not the least trace of it being visible among those that call themselves after his name." [6]

"The holy one that sheds such light is not and cannot be God, but there is no doubt that he is one with God (this is in accordance with John 10:30 of the Bible where Jesus stated 'I and the Father are one') and his soul is in constant and close communion with God. He is the fountainhead of the divine powers, and the rare and hidden manifestations of the powers of the Almighty which are not generally disclosed, are revealed through him. Such persons are called the manifestations, 'incarnations' and representatives of God. In the manifestation of the divine powers they sit on the throne of God's glory." [7]

"God is One and without any partner or rival, but persons of this type, the elect of God, whom the world has seen, may be counted by thousands. We may see a single face reflected in a thousand looking-glasses, and yet there are not really a thousand faces but only one face of which there are so many reflections. This world is a grand reflector; in other words, it is a place of glasses for the reflection of the 'face' of God and the face of Satan. God, so to speak, stands against some of the mirrors and therefore the 'image' of God is seen in them. Against others, Satan makes his appearance and his likeness is consequently witnessed in them. But from these reflections it should not be imagined that the images are so many different gods. There are thousands of the Manifestations of God, and thousands of those of the Devil." [7]

"God made Adam in His image and after His likeness, and the Prince of the Devils manifested himself in the person of Cain. The manifestations of the Deity and the Devil have since then been appearing in the world…" [7]

"Every age stands in need of new light and a new representative. Whenever this light grows dim in a people and the influence of a heavenly magnetizer is not felt among them, they bend down solely to the Earth and its mean cares. They are carried away by the current of carnal desires and drown in a flood of sins and impurities, unable to get out of it. History bears strong evidence to it." [7]

Prophet's relation to Divine Scriptures[edit]

God would, according to Ahmadiyya belief, reveal the Prophet some knowledge of the unseen if He so wills, tell the Prophet to project his message across the people of his society, tell the Prophet to establish a gathering of his followers and continuously give the Prophet revelation expressing His Divine Will. Some, most or all of the revelation given to a Prophet is sometimes recorded as a Holy Scripture and thus, Ahmadis also believe in all those Books regarded as such, i.e. the Bible, Avesta, Torah, Qur'an etc. Ahmadiyya belief states that some original Holy Scriptures such as the Scrolls of Abraham, are not to be found in contemporary times and that all Holy Scriptures, have undergone some form of interpolation or extraction by the followers of each independent faith and thus they are not reliable today as they were when they were first revealed. Only the Qur'an has not undergone any interpolation/corruption and it is the same book in its entirety exactly as it was when it was revealed to Muhammad. It is labeled, like Muhammad's status of "Seal of the Prophets" as the "Seal of the Books" (Arabic: Khatam-ul-Kutub).

Law-bearing and non law-bearing Prophets[edit]

Prophets are divided into either 'law-bearing' or 'non law-bearing' categories. Law-bearing Prophets are known as those Prophets/Messengers that brought forth a new revelation by God, and a new Holy Scripture, thus often making the previous religion obsolete. Their laws, though essentially all part of the One and only religion by God, Islam, are suited for the specific time, place and societal needs of their independent civilizations. Thus, they would differ in minor details but remain with the essential principles of the One World Religion, Islam, that are, Unity and worship of God and service to humanity and/or all life on Earth. Noah, Moses and Muhammad are examples of Law-bearing Prophets. Non law-bearing Prophets/Messengers do not bring forth any new revelation but are followers of a previous revelation given by a Law-bearing Prophet. They are usually Successors (Arabic: Khulafa) of the previous Law-bearing Prophets in which they follow. Sometimes, they are not Successors of previous Prophets and are thus just contemporaries of Law-Bearing Prophets. The Prophets of the Old Testament (David, Solomon etc.) are examples of Successor-Prophets of Moses and follow his Mosaic Law. Hud, a Prophet mentioned exclusively in the Qur'an, is an example of a contemporary Law-bearing Prophet, who in this case is Noah.

Religious evolution[edit]

The Ahmadiyya Writings reveal that Prophets have always been sent by God in the past to all nations of the world, as part of the single religion from God, which is Islam. Religion is taught to be progressive and the Prophets reveal teachings either more advanced than their preceding religions or suited for each specific time, place and society. If one were to strip all religions of their innovative teachings, one would find that they are all essentially identical, according to Ahmadiyya belief. All religions, according to the Ahmadiyya teaching of the evolution of religion, were part of Islam and were revealed in parts like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But then, according to Ahmadiyya belief, God fully revealed the whole of Islam, in its perfect form, to Muhammad. Islam was thus called the 'Seal of the Religions' (Arabic: Khatam-ud-Din) just as Muhammad was called "Seal of the Prophets". One of the earliest recorded expressions of this religious perennialism is found in the Bhagavad-Gita, which the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community acknowledges as of Divine origin: "I come, and go, and come. When Righteousness declines, O Bharata! When Wickedness is strong, I rise, from age to age, and take visible shape, and move a man with men, succouring the good, thrusting the evil back, and setting Virtue on her seat again." (Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter IV)

Prophets as Celestial Beings[edit]

"We have adorned the lowest heaven with an adornment – the planets." (37:7)

"And We have, indeed, made mansions of stars in the heaven and have adorned it for beholders." (15:17)

"Blessed is He Who has made in the heaven mansions of the stars and has placed therein a Lamp producing light and a moon that reflects light." (25:62)

"…And He created the sun and the moon and the stars – all made subservient by His command…" (7:55)

The above verses of the Qur'an, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, have many interpretations, one in which the verses reveal key astronomical knowledge about the stars, planets and other celestial bodies. Another interpretation of these verses (and the one used for the subject at hand) made by the Ahmadis is that the universe is the 'spiritual universe', the celestial beings (i.e. stars, planets, etc.) as the Prophets, the sun as Muhammad and the moon as Ahmad.

The moon is taken to be Ahmad because in every verse above where the moon is signified, the word Qamar is used and that word distinctly means Full Moon (see: 'Moon of the Prophets' below).

"By the heaven having mansions of stars. And the Promised Day, And the Witness and he to whom witness is borne." (85:2-4)

According to the Ahmadiyya interpretation of the above verse, the stars signify Prophets and the 'Promised Day' as the day of the coming of Ahmad (it is also interpreted as the Day of Resurrection). The Witness in this verse signifies Ahmad as he was a Shahid (Witness) as all other Prophets were and was a witness to the truth of the 'one to whom witness is borne' in this verse, or Muhammad as he was a Mashhud (One to whom witness is made) as all other prophets were.

Rejection of even one of the Prophets, results in the rejection of all prophets, according to the Ahmadiyya Community.

Seal of the Prophets[edit]

The Qur'an refers to Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets" (Arabic: Khatam-un-Nabiyeen). In the Qur'an, he is also known by the term Khatam-ul-Mursaleen (Seal of the Envoys). Mainstream Muslims take this to mean that Muhammad was the final Prophet and that no prophet after him would be able to come at all. Ahmadis interpret this differently. According to Ahmadiyya belief, Muhammad is the "Seal of the Prophets" in that his law, as opposed to the nationalist laws of the preceding Prophets, was not aimed at a specific part of the world but to all of mankind, as according to the Qur'an: "And We have sent thee (Muhammad) not but as a mercy for all peoples." (21:108) Thus, Muhammad was the most perfect Prophet out of all Prophets, and his law, Islam, was perfect. All religions, according to the Ahmadiyya teaching of the evolution of religion, were part of Islam and were revealed in parts like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But then, according to Ahmadiyya belief, God fully revealed the whole of Islam to Muhammad. This religion was to be the final religion for humans on Earth, chosen by God to establish His Unity. According to Ahmadiyya belief, thus, non law-bearing prophets may come after Muhammad but only if they follow his final law of Islam.

Moon of the Prophets[edit]

As according to Ahmadiyya belief, Islam was the final and perfect religion for man, this religion, as all other religions, underwent corruption over-time. Thus, according to Ahmadiyya belief, contemporary Islam found in the world is in part corrupted and is not the same Islam as was revealed to Muhammad. For this reason, Ahmad came in the 14th Islamic century, according to Ahmadiyya belief, to fulfill prophecies regarding eschatological reformers found in the world religions, as a Prophet and the Promised One of all religions. He was to re-establish true Islam on Earth and reveal more fully the truth. He was called the "Moon of the Prophets" by his wife at his funeral and also in many revelations of his, namely: "The Moon of the Prophets will arrive and your affair will become manifest" Ahmadis take this to apply to many verse of the Qur'an, namely: "By the sun and the time when it begins to radiate, And by thy moon when it follows it (the sun)." (Surah Al-Shams 91:2–3) According to the following verses, the sun is the Prophet Muhammad and the moon that follows it is the Prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The sun is luminous while the moon is not; it reflects light from the sun. In this verse, the word for 'moon' in Arabic is not Hilal as is the word commonly used for 'moon' in Arabic and means 'crescent moon' but in this verse, the word used is Qamar or 'Full Moon'. The Full Moon usually comes on the 14th day of the lunar month and reflects the light of the sun. Thus, according to Ahmadiyya belief, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did not create his own law (i.e. 'light'), reflected the law (i.e. 'light') of Muhammad (who was the sun) as he was a Muslim and did not bring forth a new law and finally, came on the 14th Islamic (lunar) century as the full moon comes on the 14th day of the lunar month.

Prophets sent to all nations[edit]

See also Criteria of True Prophet

A Hadith of Muhammad states that "124,000 Prophets" came before his advent .[8] This is in accordance with many Qur'anic verses, namely: "And there is no people to whom a Warner (Nazir) has not been sent." (35:25) "And there is a guide for every people." (13:8) "There are no people (in the world) to whom We have not sent a Warner." (32:25) Each prophet brought forth a message suited for his own societal needs, time period and specific place on Earth, i.e. it is inconceivable that an Australian at the time of Moses be a Jew. This is also in accordance with the Qur'anic verse: "And We sent Messengers before thee among parties of ancient peoples." (15:11) In accordance with this Qur'anic principle, there is the following verse of the Qur'an: "We sent some Messengers whom We have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom We have not mentioned to thee" (4:165) Thus, as the Qur'an only mentions 24 Prophets, these Prophets whom God has not mentioned in the Qur'an, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, would be the Prophets of the Bible not mentioned in the Qur'an and the Founders of the World Religions and other religious personages sent throughout the world. Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, who is called The Promised Son by Ahmadis, was also the Second Khalifa-tul-Masih of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community writes: "According to this teaching there has not been a single people at any time in history or anywhere in the world who have not had a warner from God, a teacher, a prophet. According to the Holy Qur'an there have been prophets at all times and in all countries. India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an. When, therefore, Muslims hear about prophets of other peoples or other countries, they do not deny them. They do not brand them as liars. Muslims believe that other peoples have had their teachers. If other peoples have had prophets, books, and laws, these constitute no difficulty for Islam." [9] Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote in his book A Message of Peace:

"Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities (Prophets) which have been granted to the Aryans (Hindus) have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America." [10]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also wrote within the same book:

"God also made it clear in several places in the Holy Qur'an that His Messengers have been appearing in different lands all over the world. In fact He did not neglect any people or any country." [11]

Unity of Prophethood[edit]

All prophets are regarded as the One and of having the same essential message and disbelief in one of the Prophets is tantamount to disbelief in all of the Prophets. "We make no distinction between any of His Messengers." (Qur'an 2:286) Sometimes, however, Prophets are ranked higher or lower than other ones, as shown in the Qur'an: "These Messengers have We exalted some of them above others; among them there are those whom Allah spoke; and some of them He exalted in degrees of rank..." (2:254)

List of Prophets[edit]

Here is a list of Prophets believed in by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and their respective statuses. There may be other prophets believed in by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community though those may not be written of here, for whatever reason.

Asia[edit]

The greatest concentration of Prophets in the world came/brought forth messages to Asia and many of these Prophets were very highly ranked, such as Jesus.

India[edit]

  • Krishna, A Prophet (he brought revelation but was not the founder of Hinduism) and greatest law-bearing Prophet of Hinduism. He was a monotheist but later, his teachings became corrupted. This is apparent as Hinduism is considered by many to be the oldest religion on Earth so it would have the most time, in the myriad of religions, to undergo interpolations, eventually leading to idolatry. Some parts of the Vedas (Holy Hindu Scripture) however, remained intact and did not go through any interpolation as God, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, never allows a Scripture to be fully interpolated.

Khalifa-tul-Masih IV writes in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: "This description of Hinduism (contemporary Hinduism) is in all probability born out of human fancy. Man always interpolates, misconstrues or misappropriates Divine teachings after the prophets have come and gone. No wonder then that the messages of the Hindu prophets were also distorted by the future generations of those who followed. When we suggest that the Vedas must have been interpolated, we do not mean that all the Vedic teachings underwent a complete man-made transformation. This is never permitted to happen to Divine scriptures by God. There is always retained some of the original truth, untouched and unadulterated."

  • Rama Chandra, non law-bearing Prophet.
  • The Hindu Rishis, though not considered as Prophets are considered pious saints.
  • Buddha, considered a Prophet, known as Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. He was not an atheist, but a monotheist and believed in Heaven and Hell and also the Devil, according to Ahmad.

Mesopotamia[edit]

  • Adam, (6,000 BC) law-bearing Prophet who was the first prophet of this Prophetic Cycle, that is, the first time in the present Prophetic Cycle (which includes Zoroaster, Krishna, Moses and Muhammad) that God wished to express His Divine Will through revelation. According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's belief, Adam was not the first human on Earth, as that would be contradictory to the theory of evolution, in which it believes, stating that many civilizations and stages of the evolution of life passed before him (the world has passed through different cycles of creation and civilization, and Adam, the progenitor of the present human race, is only the first link in the present cycle, and not the very first man in God's creation). He lived only about 6,000 years ago.

As the initiator of the present Prophetic cycle, Adam is a very important Prophet for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Muslim mystic, who is taken by many Muslims to be a Mujaddid (Divine Reformer) of Islam, Muhyud-Din Ibn Arabi, says that once he saw himself in a dream performing a circuit of the Ka'aba in Mecca. In the dream a man who claimed to be one of his ancestors appeared before him. Ibn Arabi asked his ancestor, "How long is it since you died?" "More than forty thousand years," the man replied. Ibn Arabi replied, "But this period is much more than what separates us from Adam!" The man replied, "Of which Adam are you speaking? About the Adam who is nearest to you or of some other?" "Then I recollected," says Ibn Arabi, "a saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to the effect that God had brought into being no less than a hundred thousand Adams, and I said to myself, "Perhaps this man who claims to be an ancestor of mine was one of the previous Adams."" [12] Thus, Adam was the first Prophet of the present cycle and there were civilizations (and most probably also Prophets) before him, including what Muhyud-Din Ibn Arabi refers to as "Adams", which may have been initiators of their respective Prophetic Cycles in ages past before the present Adam.

  • Noah, law-bearing Prophet, who lived in Iraq (Genesis 11:19). He appeared about ten centuries after Adam. It is believed by most Christians and Orthodox Muslims, that the Deluge or Flood which happened in Noah's time was a worldwide event. However, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sees no justification to why it would be a worldwide event if only the small group of people to whom Noah proclaimed his Message, disobeyed him and, consequently, deserved the Deluge by God according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It is also within the principle of the Qur'an that the Deluge was not a worldwide event.

According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the story of the Deluge is unique in the sense that some variation of it is to be found in almost all countries of the world. The reason is that when the descendants of Noah and those of his companions who were the founders of human civilization spread to other lands (as they were more powerful than the people already living there) they either exterminated the indigenous inhabitants or absorbed them. Thus they must have introduced into all the countries they subjugated their own traditions and customs. Subsequently the tradition about the Deluge must also have come to be introduced into other lands. With the lapse of time, however, the immigrants ceased to have any connection with their original home and the catastrophe consequently came to be regarded as a local occurrence, with the results that local names of persons and places came to be substituted for the original names. So the deluge was not a universal visitation, nor should the traditions of different lands be taken to point to separate floods.[13]

  • Enoch, non law-bearing Prophet, who was a descendant of Noah came in the period of the Drought, inflicted by God to punish the people of the world who had forgotten God. Enoch prayed for salvation and an end to the suffering, and so the world received rain, according to the Qur'an.
  • Hud, non law-bearing Prophet, mentioned in the Qur'an but not in the Bible.
  • Seth, may have been a non law-bearing Prophet, though is probably a Saint. He was the third son of Adam.
  • Shem, who in the Old Testament is the eldest son of Noah, brother of Ham and Japheth, and uncle of Canaan. Counted among his descendants are the Hebrews, the Arabs, and the Aramaeans. He may have been a non law-bearing Prophet though is probably a Saint.

Judea[edit]

House of Abraham

  • Abraham, (2165–1990 BC) law-bearing Prophet, patriarch of the Abrahamic Religions.
  • Lot, non law-bearing Prophet, who was the brother of Abraham and the progenitor of the Hebrew people.
  • Isaac, (2065–1885 BC) non law-bearing Prophet and patriarch of the Jewish Prophets as told of in the Old Testament of the Bible.
  • Ishmael, (2065–1885 BC) non law-bearing Prophet, who was sent to Arabia to live and was forefather of Muhammad.
  • Joseph (1914–1804 BC) non law-bearing Prophet, who traveled to Egypt with the Hebrew people. He could interpret dreams very well and it is because of this that the Pharaoh of the time let him and his people stay in Egypt. However, the Hebrew people, after many years in Egypt after the death of Joseph, became the slaves of the Egyptians.

Mosaic Period

  • Moses (1525–1405 BC) law-bearing Prophet, who was born in Egypt and lived as an Egyptian prince throughout his childhood. He later told the Pharaoh to submit to the true One God, Who had communicated with Moses to do tell the Pharaoh as such. The Pharaoh did not submit and eventually, Moses took his people with him to migrate to the Promised Land of Canaan as God had informed Moses to do so and also because the Jews living in Egypt at the time were slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh. The Pharaoh and his kingdom was soon cursed by God for not listening to Moses and Pharaoh died in the Parting of the Sea, when the sea parted to let Moses and the Jews pass but closed again when Pharaoh and his army tried to pass through it. The migration of Moses and the Jews to Canaan was called the Exodus and they wandered for 40 years until finding the Promised Land. When the Jews arrived there, Moses was allowed by God to catch a glimpse of Canaan but not to enter it.

Apparently, in the Bible, it states "No man knoweth the sepulcher of Moses unto this day." (Deuteronomy 34:6). His burial place remains unknown even today to the Jewish and Christian faiths. It is only Islam which reveals the slightest answer. 2,000 years after the death of Moses, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, his "Second Advent" so to speak, the Prophet Muhammad revealed the whereabouts of the tomb of Moses. Muhammad said: "If I were there I would have shown you his sepulcher, situated near the roadside, at the foot of a russet hued hillock." (Sahih Al Bukhari, Vol. 2, 191 Egypt 1932) This tomb is known to the Muslims as Qabr Nabi Musa or the "Tomb of the Prophet Moses" which is located in Palestine. Dr. Phillip writes in his book: "The grave of Moses is located between the Dead Sea and Mar Saba. It is marked by the Mosque of Nabi Musa and is a great resort of Muslim pilgrims at the Easter season. I saw a vast picturesque procession passing through St. Stephen's Gate in Jerusalem to the valley of the Kedron and on the tomb of the Prophet Musa (Moses)." ("Through Bible Lands" page 303 footnote, by Dr. Phillip Schabb, London, James Nisbet & Co., New Edition, September 1888) The Ahmadiyya claim that their Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, also revealed the whereabouts of the tomb of Jesus after about 2,000 years just as Muhammad had revealed the whereabouts of the tomb of Moses after about 2,000 years. (See "Moses", above; see "Jesus" and also "Ahmad")

  • Aaron, (1525–1405 BC) non law-bearing Prophet and brother of Moses.
  • Jethro, (1525–1405 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who was the teacher of Moses in his final years of life. He became blind in the latter years of his life.

The Kingdom Prophets

  • Samuel, (1040 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Gad, (1020–970 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Nathan, (1010–925 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • King David, (1011–971 BC) non law-bearing Prophet and Greatest King-Prophet of the Prophets mentioned in the Old Testament.
  • Solomon, (971–931 BC) non law-bearing Prophet and son of David who was extremely wise as this was granted to him by God. He further prophesized the advent of Muhammad in many parts of the Old Testament mainly by calling Muhammad as "My Beloved" which in Hebrew (the language of Solomon), is Mahammadim.

Northern Kingdom of Israel

  • Ahijah (931–908 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Iddo (920–903 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Jehu (890–865 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Elijah (875–852 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who was the person regarding a prophecy of the Jewish Messiah (in whom the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes has come in the person of Jesus). He was supposed to come down from the sky in the time of the Messiah in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community however, believes that, in accordance with the New Testament, John the Baptist came in the metaphorical Second Advent or "spirit and power" of Jesus.
  • Micaiah (860–? BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Elisha (851–795 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Jonah (788–772 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who was unique in the sense that he was for "3 days and 3 nights" in the belly of a large whale/fish and survived.
  • Amos (767–755 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Hosea (755–712 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Oded (737–722 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.

Southern Kingdom of Israel

  • Shemaiah (931–901 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Azaraiah (900–875 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Hanani (895–870 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Jahaziel (865–835 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Obadiah (840–825 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Joel (825–810 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Isaiah (740–692 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who prophesized the Advents of both Muhammad and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and also the Promised Son of Ahmad.
  • Micah (734–700 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Nahum (650–620 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Zephaniah (635–622 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Huldah (635–610 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Jeremiah (625–610 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Habakkuk (620–608 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who prophesized the Advent of Muhammad.
  • Daniel (605–535 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who prophesized the Advent of Muhammad and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
  • Ezekiel (593–560 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.

The Prophets in the Period of Restoration

In 586 BC, Jerusalem fell to the people of Babylon and the Israelites were exiled. In 539 BC the Israelites returned to Jerusalem and started the restoration of the city. In this period, the following Prophets were bestowed upon the Jewish people:

  • Job (Date of Birth and Death Unknown) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Haggai (520–505 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Zechariah (520–490 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Ezra (480–458 BC) non law-bearing Prophet.
  • Malachi (433–415 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who was the final Prophet of the Old Testament.

The Silent Years

For 400 years, no known Prophets were bestowed upon the Israelites.

The Christian Era

  • John the Baptist (4 BC–100 AD) non law-bearing Prophet who was the fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament of the "Second Coming of Elijah". He was the harbinger of the Messiah, Jesus.
  • Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, though not regarded as a Prophet by most Christians, is stated as a non law-bearing Prophet in the Qur'an.
  • Jesus Christ (8 BC–100 AD) was the final Israelite Prophet and final Prophet to follow the law of Moses. He was a Jew according to Ahmadiyya Muslim Community belief and thus followed the Ten Commandments and abstained from wine, pork and other forbidden things for the Jews. He was a special Prophet of God, and one of the greatest, ranking among Prophets as Abraham and Moses.

According to Ahmadiyya belief, he did not bring forth a new law but rather, was a non law-bearing Prophet in the sense that he followed the Mosaic Law. Jesus states in the New Testament:

"I did not come to change the prophets or the law but to fulfill it. Even an iota of the law shall not be added or subtracted." (Matthew 5:17–18).

He was according to Ahmadiyya belief, nailed to the cross though he survived death on the cross. He later was in a state of unconsciousness in the sepulcher and came out of the tomb after 3 days and 3 nights, alive. Thus, no resurrection occurred. Then, he visited his companions and traveled East.

Jesus said:

"I am not sent hut unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24)

Apparently, out of these 12 lost tribes of Israel, only 2 were in Judea at the time of Jesus. The others had long since been exiled to Eastern countries a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus in countries like Afghanistan, Kashmir and India. As a result of this, many of the local Jews living in those areas had, over time, converted to various polytheistic faiths that were dominant in those regions at the time. Some had also converted to Buddhism. Thus, Jesus traveled East to fulfill his mission of preaching to the 12 lost tribes of Israel that he was the Messiah and many Buddhists, upon his arrival to India, incorporated Jesus' teaching in their own Scripture. Jesus, then died, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, at the age of 120 and was buried in Srinigar within Kashmir. His tomb is to be found uptill this day (www.tombofjesus.com)

China[edit]

  • King Wân (c. 1143 BC) non law-bearing Prophet. His story was strikingly similar to the story of King David in the Bible.
  • Cheu Kung (c. 1120 BC) non law-bearing Prophet who was the son of King Wan. He was thus, quite similar to the Prophet Solomon.

Japan[edit]

  • It may be that a Prophet was raised among the Shinto people of Japan.

Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote in his book A Message of Peace:

"Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities (Prophets) which have been granted to the Aryans (Indians) have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America." [10]

Persia[edit]

  • Cyrus the Great (c. 590–529 BC) may have been a non law-bearing Prophet following the law of Zoroaster. This is because the Prophet "Dhul-Qarnain", encountered in the Qur'an who has no Biblical equivalent has been interpreted to be Cyrus by many Ahmadi scholars. If he was not a Prophet, he is still regarded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as a very pious saint because he has also been mentioned in Bible due to his piety (Isaiah 45:1–5).
  • Manda da Hayye ("Knowledge of Life") also known as "Hibel-Ziwa" may have been a Prophet for the Mandeans who are also known as the Sabians. There are many references in the Qur'an to the Sabians as a religion originating from God. The Mandaean sect, once thought to have emerged in Mesopotamia or Persia sometime before the 4th century AD, is now generally believed to have migrated there from the Palestinian-Syrian region, where it probably originated in the 1st or 2nd century AD or even in pre-Christian times.

Afghanistan[edit]

  • Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an." [9]

Russia[edit]

  • Zoroaster, though commonly described as a Persian Prophet, may have been a Prophet of Russia as he lived in Northern Persia. Some northerly areas of that area would now be considered Southern Russia.
  • There may have been Prophets bestowed to the native peoples of ancient Russia.

Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an." [9]

Africa[edit]

  • Luqman is a Prophet mentioned in the Qur'an with no Biblical equivalent. Some scholars have taken him to be an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Prophet.
  • Moses, law-bearing Prophet, though a Jew and sent for the Israelites, projected his message towards the Egyptian Pharaoh and his people to submit to the One God. Pharaoh did not submit but the fact remains that Moses projected his message towards the society of Ancient Egypt and could thus be considered a Prophet for them. This is also in accordance with the Qur'an where it states:

"And We sent Messengers before thee among parties of ancient peoples." (15:11)

  • Joseph, because he lived in Egypt could be considered a Prophet in much the same way as Moses (see above).
  • There may have been Prophets among the indigenous Africans.

Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an." [9]

Europe[edit]

Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote in his book A Message of Peace:

"Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities (Prophets) which have been granted to the Aryans (Hindus) have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America." [10]

Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an." [9]

Greece[edit]

  • Socrates the Greek philosopher is considered by some to have been a law-bearing Prophet given to the people of Ancient Greece. This belief is considered by Ahmadis to be in accordance with the verse of the Qur'an which states:

"And We sent Messengers before thee among parties of ancient peoples." (15:11)

Socrates (469–399 BC) gave an emphasis on ethics and the acquisition of knowledge. He is considered to be a monotheist as he always referred to God as "the God" (the singular form) as opposed to the other Greeks who always said "the gods". He was moreover, persecuted as all other Prophets and sentenced to death (like Jesus). Although a patriot and a man of deep religious conviction, Socrates was nonetheless regarded with suspicion by many of his contemporaries, who disliked his attitude toward the Athenian state and the established religion of Greek Mythology. He was charged in 399 BC with neglecting the gods of the state and introducing new divinities, a reference to the daemonion, or "mystical inner voice", to which Socrates often referred. He always acted upon this inner voice and this could be reference to the application of revelation. His students and contemporaries tried to save him from death, but Socrates preferred to die for his cause, that is, the belief in One God Who had sent him revelation. He was also charged with "corrupting the minds of the youth" which would sound like a charge made against a Prophet as Prophets introduce ideas not found in the societies in which they project their respective message.

The Americas[edit]

Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"India, China, Russia, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, Europe, America - all had prophets according to the theory of divine guidance taught by the Holy Qur'an." [9]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote in his book A Message of Peace:

"Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities (Prophets) which have been granted to the Aryans (Hindus) have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America." [10]

North America[edit]

  • There may have been Inuit and Eskimo Prophets. The Calgary chapter of the Community distributed copies of the Qur'an to Inuit peoples living near the Arctic Circle.

Central America[edit]

  • Ahmad's followers claim that Quetzalcoatl was most probably a Prophet sent to Toltec and Aztec peoples of Mexico.[14] He was a fair-skinned benevolent Messiah-like figure who taught religion, among other things to the people.[citation needed] Quetzalcoatl wept as he buried his treasure, left his city heading for the coast, and finally sailed east, promising to return.[citation needed] He also taught fasting[citation needed], a practice found in most other established religions and especially the Abrahamic Religions.

South America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Fourth Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believed that Prophets had projected the message of One Supreme Creator amongst all tribes of the Aborigine people in Australia. Though secluded from each other, they were all united in the belief of this One God. Mirza Tahir Ahmad elaborates in the chapter called "The Concept of God among the Aborigines of Australia" in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: "The central idea of one eternal Supreme Creator remains unadulterated by whatever other superstitions they may have entertained. The superstitions change from tribe to tribe, but not their belief in one God… …The Wiimbaio tribe, for instance, believed that while engaged in the process of the creation of Earth, God remained close at hand but having finished His work He ascended back to the loftiness of the constellations. Similarly, the Wotjobaluk tribe believed Bunjil to be a Supreme Being, who once lived on the Earth as a great man but eventually ascended to the sky. (Similar to the Prophet Jesus) [15] Also, the Aborigine tribes in Australia have an essential teaching of "dreams" in their faith. Mirza Tahir Ahmad states: "A tradition of the Holy Prophet, is worthy of note here because it speaks of Divine dreams to be one-fortieth part of prophethood." [15] Again, he writes: "Moreover, no power of creation whatsoever is attributed to these mythical figures, hence they cannot be perceived as sharing Divinity with High Gods, the only Creator. Again it is quite likely that this belief may have been wrongly categorized as mythical. It may well have been a slightly changed version of the paradise concept common to all major Divinely revealed religions. The description of the Supreme Dweller of paradise being emu-footed and that of His wife and children as dog-footed are the only foreign elements to the concept of paradise found elsewhere, otherwise the same Eden-like gardens, eternally green, abounding in fruits and vegetables, with no fear of drought etc., are very close to metaphoric description of paradise presented by the Holy Qur'an." [15]

All mankind[edit]

  • Muhammad is believed in by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as the Seal of the Prophets and a Prophet sent to all mankind, as opposed to the prophets before him sent to specific areas of the world.
  • Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is believed in by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as the Promised Messiah for mankind, though subordinate to Muhammad. It is his message that will unify all peoples and nations to One Religion, One People and possibly One World Government (Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad wrote passages concerning the One World Government in his book Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=5&region=E1
  2. ^ Qur'an Arabic Text with English Translation and Short Commentary, Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid. Published by Islam International Publications Limited. ISBN 1-85372-007-0, Chapter 7, Verse 55, pg. 322, Commentary footnote number 986
  3. ^ Qur'an Arabic Text with English Translation and Short Commentary, Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid. Published by Islam International Publications Limited. ISBN 1-85372-007-0, Chapter 40, Verse 8, pg. 948, commentary footnote number 2595
  4. ^ Qur'an Arabic Text with English Translation and Short Commentary, Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid. Published by Islam International Publications Limited. ISBN 1-85372-007-0, Index, Pg. 1386, Under Heading: 'Prophets' and subheading: 'manifestation of God by,'
  5. ^ a b c Review of Religions Vol. 97, Num. 7, July 2002. Pg. 8
  6. ^ Review of Religions Vol. 97, Num. 7, July 2002. Pgs. 8–9
  7. ^ a b c d Review of Religions Vol. 97, Num. 7, July 2002. Pg. 9
  8. ^ Musnad V. 266
  9. ^ a b c d e f Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur'an by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad. Part 2, Argument 4 Section labeled "A Grand Conception"
  10. ^ a b c d A Message of Peace by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, pg. 6)
  11. ^ A Message of Peace by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, pg. 9
  12. ^ Futuhat ii, p. 607
  13. ^ Short Commentary of the Holy Qur'an by Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad
  14. ^ The "Review of Religions" July 2002, Vol.97, No.7, pages 35–36
  15. ^ a b c "Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth” by Mirza Tahir Ahmad, chapter "The Concept of God among the Aborigines of Australia"